I was shocked to recently learn about the Oakland, California school board’s 1996 decision to classify Ebonics as the official language of its African American students. At the mere age of four, I was ignorant to the political and social controversy this decision stirred up nationwide. Now, at 19, I can understand the problematic implications such a decision leads to.
For the past couple days the internet has been all keyed up over the DEA’s search for translators to help them decode the intricate and complex language of the drug game. In short, the DEA is looking for, as they call it, Ebonics experts. Wait what? Are we acknowledging the fact that Ebonics is a separate language? Or is this just another cultural disconnect between Black America and America?
When speakers of one dialect can no longer understand the speakers of another dialect, these dialects have effectively become different languages. And since dialects are born through social and or geographical isolation is the DEA saying that Black America has been disconnected from mainstream America for so long that we are speaking a different language and mostly unintelligible language now?